Trees provide people with a connection to a place. They enhance the visual beauty of spaces and provide environmental, recreational and communal benefits.
Community planting has many benefits
The benefits of community plantings include:
- Planting trees in communal spaces provides an opportunity for people to get involved with their community and provides a connection to the land.
- Trees beautify spaces and attract people to them. For example, a green field provides many uses but once trees are added, people are more drawn to the field and its use increases.
- Trees can screen unwanted views and walls.
- Trees cool streets and cities. Our urban environments create heat islands. The shading created by trees breaks up these heat islands and provides a cooling effect.
- Planting trees along mountain bike or walking tracks provides shade, beautification and slope stability.
- Planting trees around playing fields provides shade, shelter and a buffer for surrounding residential properties from noise and lighting.
- Trees provide health benefits. They absorb pollution and provide oxygen. Patients with views of trees can heal faster.
- Trees are often planted as living memorials or reminders of loved ones.
- Trees can muffle sounds and block wind.
- There are many environmental benefits to planting trees including providing bird corridors, biodiversity and improving water quality.
- Leafy, green suburbs are very desirable and add value to areas.
Why are you doing a community planting?
First think about why you are doing your planting project, for example:
- Do you want to attract more people to recreational areas like playing fields and walking tracks?
- Are you looking to provide shade or windbreaks to spaces?
- Do you want to bring wildlife closer or create habitats for birds or lizards?
- Are you creating an urban forest?
How to plant for your community
The high level stages to planning a community planting project are to:
- identify where you want to plant, what species will grow in your area and your planting objectives
- what you are going to plant – if native species, you should ecosource your plants
- get permission to plant, usually from your local or regional council or the Department of Conservation
- find out if you can get funding
- contact your local nursery and order trees well in advance of planned planting days
- clear the land of weeds
- plant your trees over winter
- commit to maintaining the planting for at least 3 years.
Plan your community planting event
If you want your community planting to be an event:
- advertise through social media, a letterbox drop and your networks so people can join in
- let people know to bring a spade
- make sure you have all the other things you need to make the planting successful, for example, plant guards and bamboo stakes.
Many hands make light work and community planting events are a great way to meet others who want to plant trees.
Planting living memorials
Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service provides funding to plant trees as living memorials to honour New Zealand’s heroes.